The Ghost in Aisle Three

I see you over in the produce aisle picking out a perfect bunch of grapes. I linger at the meat counter trying to decide between the organic chicken and a T-bone. I go for the chicken, and duck around the corner before you see me.

It’s not that you wouldn’t be gracious should our paths collide. You’d hug me, and we’d exchange banalities. You’d ask about my kids, and I’d ask about yours. We’d tell each other how great we look, and one of us would say, “Let’s do lunch.” But, of course, neither of us would.

It’s funny how we let go of people. It’s usually a slow ungluing. We’re so caught up in our hectic lives, that we don’t notice the passage of time. Often the distance grows from a crack to a chasm, and we don’t realize it’s happened until one day we look across the aisle at the grocery store and see a face from a time long past. A happier time.

I tell myself I’m not rushing as I go through the aisles and toss my items into the cart. I’m sure I’ve forgotten half of what I need, but I can always come back. I pay and scoot out to my car. Once I’ve packed the car, I take a minute to sit with my eyes closed and my head against the steering wheel.

That was silly, I tell myself. I could have reconnected for a few moments.

I start the car and pull out of the parking lot. Silly, perhaps, but what would be the point? I’ve already disappeared from your life.

Better to remain a ghost.